Northern Ireland 'hazardous' roads warning as gritting service is hit by week-long strike action

Motorists across Northern Ireland have been warned to expect more potentially hazardous conditions on Friday as road workers involved in gritting begin a one-week strike.
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The Department for Infrastructure, which ahead of Thursday’s massive public sector strike urged people to only make absolutely essential journeys, said road users should continue to think very carefully about the need to travel.

Police have also issued a travel alert for drivers to exercise “extreme caution” on Friday.

"Many roads throughout the network remain untreated, and icy conditions mean that driving is hazardous,” said a PSNI spokesperson. “Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy before you set off, and leave additional time for your journey. Slow down and show consideration for other road users.”

Members of unions which operate gritters on Northern Ireland's roads will be on strike until January 25.  Picture: Arthur Allison / Pacemaker Press.Members of unions which operate gritters on Northern Ireland's roads will be on strike until January 25.  Picture: Arthur Allison / Pacemaker Press.
Members of unions which operate gritters on Northern Ireland's roads will be on strike until January 25. Picture: Arthur Allison / Pacemaker Press.

With a Met Office yellow warning for snow and ice in place until 10am on Friday, the Department for Infrastructure has issued a fresh warning for dangerous road conditions.

"Road users should be very mindful that conditions on the roads will be variable,” a Department spokesperson stressed.

"Gritting will continue to take place on the M1 and M2 motorways, the A1 and the A4. However, road users are reminded that roads leading to the limited salted part of the network will not be treated so extreme caution will be required for anyone travelling on any part of the road network.

"Even where gritting has taken place the Department can never guarantee ice free roads due to potential wash-off from showers and the formation of black ice so please drive slowly and be prepared for changing conditions.”

Drivers have been warned that the road network will remain hazardous for travel on Friday with gritting only likely to recommence on a limited basis from early morning.

"Again, gritting will be confined to the main roads only and drivers may still encounter some portions of their route that are gritted and some portions that are not.

"Pedestrians should equally take great care when walking on footpaths.”

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Road workers will remain on strike until Thursday, January 25 which will significantly restrict the volume of gritting that can be carried out from January 19-24 and the Department says the public should expect disruption until warmer weather arrives.